Since the news broke about Roe v. Wade being overturned, I’ve found myself a bit heartbroken, but not for the main reason you may be thinking.
The issue of abortion is such a polarizing topic anyway. It is either seen as murder or healthcare. Whether a person is pro-choice or pro-life is used to paint a picture of their entire character. It is a complex issue regardless if you agree or disagree. But it is NOT an excuse to be ugly to each other. And that’s why I’m heartbroken.
There seems to be two sides to the news: The Outraged and The Triumphant
These people see this as an attack on people with uteruses. And there are some people who can leave it at that. But there are a lot of other people who are using this as a moment to ostracize, belittle, and cut off ties to others who are thrilled with this outcome.
I have seen so many posts on social media saying, “If you are celebrating today, kindly F&%K off/unfriend/unfollow.” How is this helpful? It is creating an us vs. them mentality that does not help anyone. I’ve also seen references to “Trumpers” and “Maga-idiots”. This rhetoric is coming from the liberal side who espouses we want unity in this nation… this is not unity folks.
This is exacerbating an issue that is already out of control. We can do better! Have you ever changed your mind on an issue after being called a hypocrite or some other name meant to make you feel less than? I don’t know about you, but it puts me on the defensive every single time. I hear nothing else except “this guy is an @sshole.”
These people see this as a win for humanity. We can finally end the senseless murder of unborn babies everywhere and rejoice in the sanctity of life! At the same time they are celebrating, there are some that are also name-calling and mudslinging those who are upset. I’ve seen posts saying the Democrats won’t know what to do without their agenda of sin and evil-doing… what?! Really? Or calling them “Democraps” or “Lib-tards”. This is highly offensive on many levels.
Again… what are we trying to solve here? If it is to persuade those of us who are upset by this ruling, we need to take another gander at the art of persuasion. Calling those who are pro-choice “baby murderers” is harsh, cruel, and ineffective. Also, gloating? This doesn’t bring people closer together.
What I Know
I know that we are in a mental health crisis in this country. I know that 1 in 4 women have had an abortion (whether that is elective or medically necessary). I know that abortion is one tiny aspect of a much larger and complex society. And I know that what I have seen online by some of both sides of the issue is nothing less than cyberbullying.
Before you post your opinions on the matter, I have a challenge for you.
Is what you are posting kind?
What is the desired outcome of your post?
You can absolutely post your opinion without belittling another group of people. But instead of assuming that the opposite side hates women or babies… maybe think a bit deeper and understand the complexity.
Your overzealous gloating is being read by someone who had to make a decision on whether or not to abort her child for fear that she may or may not have made it through her pregnancy and therefore may leave her two children motherless.
Your overzealous rage is being read by someone who was forced to have an abortion by an abusive partner and deeply misses that child and doesn’t want anyone else to feel that pain.
The pro-life camp is not out to strip uterus-owners of all their rights and “keep the woman down!” They are truly convinced they are fighting for babies. They are very passionate about this. For most of them, that’s literally all it is. Save babies' lives.
The pro-choice camp is not out to murder babies. They are truly convinced that without legal (read: safe) abortion, unsafe abortions will still take place, spreading disease and other atrocities. They firmly believe that this is a slippery slope and uterus-owners are going to die because of it (unsafe medical procedures, abuse, etc). They firmly believe that we live in an unfair society where the uterus-owner has to sacrifice their life while there is no accountability for men. They aren’t pro-murdering unborn babies willy-nilly. They are pro-dignity for humanity.
Regardless if you buy into how I have laid this out or not, what can we do to be kinder to one another?
Here are some sample posts for no matter where you fall on the scale. Please feel free to copy and paste..
Do you have some other suggestions to add to the list? List them in the comments.
What does this have to do with mental health?
No matter where you land on this issue, how you voice that matters to those around you. If someone identifies you as hostile or unwelcoming, regardless of their beliefs, they are not likely to confide in you when they need help. Your one, seemingly innocuous post, could be the thing that makes them sure that the world doesn’t want them in it. Is your post worth all of that?
When I travel the US doing workshops to address mental health, the number one thing I hear from those who have wanted to end it all is that they didn’t feel seen, acknowledged, or wanted by others. They truly thought that the world was better off without them.
Now look at your statuses and posts. Do they affirm or deny this notion?